MMS Blog

Why do some attempts to implement Industry 4.0 solutions fail?

According to Dr. Stephan Biller, vice president of product management at IBM Watson and a veteran of both General Electric and General Motors, digital solutions fail when people lose sight of their purpose: “If you do not make the lives of the people on the floor better,” he says, “you are guaranteed to fail.” This philosophy has spurred the development of an asset-management and machine-monitoring tool that enables shops to reduce equipment downtime by focusing on both the machinery and those who operate it.

Lower Buy-to-Fly Ratios with Near-Net Additive Manufacturing

“We buy raw material to make it fly; the less material remains on the ground the better,” says Heinz Baehr, a member of the executive board for Aircraft Philipp Group in Übersee, Germany.

This dichotomy between material purchased and material that ultimately ends up in flight can be expressed by a buy-to-fly ratio, in other words the ratio of material input to final part output. A high ratio means that much of the raw material that was purchased never made it to the air. Most of that material became scrap on the ground, likely cut away in a machining process. When dealing with expensive metals like titanium, those unused chips can add up to significant cost. A conventional process like milling can have a buy-to-fly ratio 10 or higher. 

By: Wayne Chaneski 8/21/2019

Are You Communicating Effectively?

When working with companies, I frequently hear the complaint: “Nobody communicates around here.” Whether this is true depends on your personal perception. I doubt many of us would admit to being poor communicators, yet there is this a widespread belief that “others” do not communicate well. The subject of communication certainly generates a perception dilemma.

Much has been written about how to communicate effectively. Most stress that communication is really a two-way street in which both the communicator and receiver have a vested interest in the information. Each person has a list of obligations.

By: Mike Lynch 8/20/2019

Develop Your Company Playbook

Football coaches use playbooks to relate plans to their teams. Players are expected to memorize plays along with their personal responsibilities for each play. Only when everyone is in sync with the coach’s design can the team reach its full potential. If players correctly execute responsibilities, the play will succeed. If not, the play will fail. Any breakdown can be linked to a missed responsibility that is covered in the playbook.

Relate this to your CNC environment. You have a firm understanding of what it takes for your CNC operators to succeed. Why not create a company playbook to relate to them what you expect? Like football players, your employees will be expected to study this document. Ideally, every major issue that has arisen over the years will be covered. So, if a mistake is made, it will be because someone has broken a rule in your playbook.

Shop Doubles Production Capacity with Robotic Machine Tending

In a time when concern about robots replacing human labor is common, it’s less common to hear stories about shop employees advocating for robots to their managers. That is Fusion OEM’s story. An effort led by employees resulted in the adoption of multiple Universal Robots with end effectors from Robotiq, lowering job costs.

Always looking for inspiration from his peers in the industry, Fusion’s head machinist, Davin Erickson, had been following CNC machining channels on Instagram and YouTube for years. He was impressed when he first saw a robot operating a machine without caging. Given the shop’s difficulties finding and hiring new employees as well as its past experiences with bulky industrial robots, Mr. Erickson’s interest remained piqued.

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